One Name on a Piece of Plain, White Paper

Files.  Piles of folders.  Stacks of dividers.  Reams of forms.

On them were names.  Birthplaces.  Medical information.  Family ties.  Alien numbers.

Each piece of paper bore the same uninteresting resemblance to the one that preceded it.  Every sheet had plain, black type spaced evening across its surface.

Uninteresting in appearance.

Weighty in significance.

Yesterday, I entered information into newly-created case files for soon-arriving refugees.  These people hail from Myanmar, from Thailand, from Iraq, from Somalia.  One even comes from Rwanda.

Their information is boringly presented and skeletal in nature.  It doesn’t convey the essence of their person.  And, from time to time as I processed their information, I forgot to pray for them and wonder about their character.  I just entered their information.

Then I saw one of the Exodus caseworkers listed as the U.S. tie (relative) for a hopeful refugee from Myanmar.  I double-checked the U.S. tie’s name.  Yes, it was the caseworker, one of my good friends at Exodus.  He sat in the chair next to mine.

I paused.

Then, I turned to my friend and said, “[Lian], I’m processing your brother.”

“Really?!  How do you know?”

Lian’s face was full of laughter and happiness.

I showed him his name on his brother’s sheet.

He laughed delightedly and asked when his brother would arrive in the U.S.  I said I didn’t know.

Lian referred to the funny occurrence 15 minutes later.  “You processed my brother?  Hah!  How wonderful.”

I made sure to enter his brother’s plainly-typed information with extra care.


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